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On the Road with Frank

Immediately after retiring from the United States Navy Frank started a blog he named On The Road With Frank. The purpose of which was to share the travel experiences he and his wife were to have as they wandered around North America in their motorhome. While On The Road With Frank certainly fulfilled that goal, it also provided a venue to display some of Frank's photography. With the emergence of Frank Madia Photography, it was fitting to move the blog to FrankMadiaPhotography.com.  After the summer season of 2018, Frank and Connie gave up the RV lifestyle.  They now travel the country and hopefully the world by car or plane.  Frank remains passionate about photography.  However, he has come to the decision that his long-standing policy to avoid politics in his blog may not have provided the best use of his voice.  Starting in September of 2019 his blog will contain the traditional travel posts complete with photographs, but there will also be opinion pieces on the state of politics in the United States of America.


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Winter in Yellowstone National Park

It has long been a desire of mine to visit Yellowstone during the winter.  For anyone who has known me since late in my Navy career to the present, this desire may seem a little strange.  I don’t like the cold.  I am no longer fond of driving in snowy conditions.  My hands and feet just do not tolerate the cold even a little bit.  This last item loomed large as we prepared for this winter adventure.  I needed nimble fingers to be able to make camera adjustments and make images.  If my fingers were numb or aching from the cold I would be miserable and the adventure would not be pleasant for anyone around me.

Therefore, the trip actually starts with the preparation for what we could encounter from Mother Nature.  Timing would also be an important consideration as we would not be able to just hang around waiting for the correct weather conditions to match our photographic desires.  We also needed to book a trip into the interior which we felt would be essential to capture the true spirit of Yellowstone in the winter.  We had to book our trip months in advance to ensure we would get seats.

Finally, we needed to decide how long we wanted to stay.  This meant we needed to be aware of the unknown elements that could affect our visit.  Things such as the ever-changing weather and road conditions and our hosts desire to have us gone at some point among others.

For those with short attention spans, I will sum up by saying the trip was a great success.  We brought home hundreds of images that to some extent are still in the processing queue nearly a year later.  Refill your coffee cup or wine glass and sit back as I try to entertain you with a lot of images and maybe not so many words.

Preparations

Growing up there were few options for cold weather clothing.  That is certainly not the case today.  The options can be mind-boggling.  We spent several hours looking here and there and online for the exact gear we could need to stay dry and warm.  We even invested in snowboots and gaiters to keep the snow out of our boots.  I bought what will likely end up being a lifetime supply of hand a foot warmers.  The hand warmers really came in handy, and are far more efficient than I thought.  I suspect all told we purchased nearly $1000 of cold weather gear.

Then, there was the car.  I knew from my winters in Wyoming growing up that you can be driving along on perfectly clear roads one hour and in the next find yourself on ice or packed snow with no town for miles.  Therefore, we bought cable tire chains for the car.  We put together some survival snack packs just in case we found ourselves stranded somewhere.  They would also come in handy while in the park with no food service available beyond Mammoth Hot Springs or Old Faithful.  Our plan did not include going to Old Faithful.  We also made sure the car was otherwise ready for cold and stormy weather.  After more than one night of wringing hands over one detail or another, we finally felt prepared for this adventure.  Now, would the car hold everything we intended to take?

We had been watching the weather along our proposed route to Gardiner, Montana, as well as the weather in Yellowstone.  We wanted snow on the ground.  However, we did not want to have it snow continuously while we were there.  We also did not want it to be dangerously cold.

We would be spending most of our time in the park between Mammoth and the Northeast Entrance as that is the only road open to private vehicle traffic during the winter months. Fortunately, we have friends who spend a great deal of time in the park year round and they kept us informed of the weather conditions in the Lamar Valley.  It looked to be absolutely brutal.  Temperatures in the minus twenties and a lot of snow and wind.  We left home more than a little concerned as to how this was going to work out.

If the then current conditions in Yellowstone were not enough to worry about, we were also tracking a storm system coming out of the Pacific Northwest and heading southeast.  It looked as though our paths would intersect near Casper, Wyoming.

The Drive From Central Texas to Yellowstone

As it worked out, we had a completely uneventful drive all the way to Glenrock, Wyoming.  We stopped in Glenrock for gas and a well-needed bathroom break.  During our stop, the snow began to fall.  As we continued toward Casper it only got worse.  It snowed and blew on us all the way to our scheduled stop in Casper.  By the time we got to the hotel, there was measurable snow on the ground.  The clerk who checked us in said it had been spitting snow since he arrived at work and within the last hour it just opened up.

We spent the next few hours watching the falling snow.  The snow fell more or less horizontally while accumulating inches per hour on the already very cold ground.  We sort of felt our way to dinner just a mile or so from the hotel and on our return to the hotel, we could not define one parking space from another.  Throughout the night we would steal looks out the window down to the parking lot where we frequently saw hotel staff trying to keep the walkways clear of snow, but not doing a great job of staying ahead of that which continued to fall.  By morning there was at least a foot of snow on the car.  The road conditions between the hotel and the Interstate were bad.

Fortunately, the big green overhead signs were easy to see and follow.  We found ourselves heading to an on-ramp that had not been used by anyone possibly since late the previous evening, including a plow.  I literally used the reflector posts to determine where the road was.  Once on the highway, the surface improved considerably, but the traffic was a bit frightening.

Northbound Interstate 25 intersects with Casper from the east.  Our hotel was a little more than 3 miles east of the downtown area.  In that 3 miles, the direction changes from due east to northeast to east again before finally turning to the north as you leave the city limits.  This portion of the road was passable, but the majority of the motorists must have been locals who knew where all the curves were because in my opinion they were all driving too fast for all the blowing snow and winding about we were doing.  We survived Casper without a scratch.

Soon after we got away from Casper we began seeing highway information signs indicating that if you didn’t need to be traveling, then don’t.  About the same time, Connie and my brother, John, started a text chat.  John was watching the weather and road conditions live.  He kept Connie informed as to what we could expect as we progressed.  At one point John asked Connie if I had done any serious snow driving since high school.  Connie sort of chuckled, but it was a nervous chuckle.  Then she read me the question.  Well, it had not been since high school.  I had been forced to drive in poor conditions once in a while since high school, but nothing like what we were experiencing on this day.

Our next scheduled stop was in Billings, Montana.  We had put Billings in the plan for a couple of reasons.  The drive from Casper to Billings and Billings to Gardiner are relatively easy drives.  Had we been forced to either stretch the day that was to be the Casper stop and therefore the following day as well, we could have still arrived in Gardiner as scheduled.

Billings was a frozen mess. It was cold, mid-teens. The streets needed plowing.  There were building height mounds of snow in most parking lots.  Our hotel shared a parking lot with a so-so Mexican restaurant.  That was fine with us.  We walked between the two.

The drive the next day from Billings to Gardiner was so uneventful that we didn’t stop in Gardiner, but went straight into the park to do a little research.  Eventually, we returned to Gardiner and the home of our summertime supervisor, Ranger Allan Bush and his wonderful wife, Barbara.  The Bushs were perfect hosts for our stay.  Their son, Mark, was at home awaiting his next Park Ranger assignment.  The three of them made our stay very comfortable.

The Adventure

The plan was to spend the first two days exploring the road and near the road between Mammoth Hot Springs and the Northeast Entrance concentrating on the goings on in the Lamar Valley.  On day three we had a reservation with Xanterra, the park’s hotel and restaurant concessionaire to take one of their over-snow vehicles from Mammoth to Canyon Village and the immediate area around the village via Norris Junction and back. It is a full day trip that was also full of fun. Day 4 would likely be another day to the Lamar Valley.  Day 5 would find us saying our tearful goodbyes and heading back to Texas with stops in Sheridan to visit my brother and his family, Cheyenne to visit friends, and Greeley, Colorado to visit my sister, Mary Ann and her family.

What follows are a sampling of the many photographs I made during those four days in Yellowstone.  This was my first foray into the world of winter, snowy photography.  There was to be a great deal of learning going on as we proceeded.  Some of the images I have chosen to share via this post are technically inferior.  I share them as a caution to others who want to do snowy photography and because they happen to be the only images I have to complete the story.

The photographs will tell the rest of the story.

Day one, Feb 21, 2018 – Lamar Valley

Our first full day in the park was mostly a cloudy and cold day. It was also the first time I would be shooting with snowy backdrops. There were techniques involved that I did not fully understand. Therefore, that first day out produced some less than spectacular images. Here we have three bison trying to make a living.  Nikon D610 with 24-85 mm,  f 3.5 -4.5,  1/160 sec at f/18,  28 mm,  ISO 200

 

We came upon a coyote running alongside the road. Before I could get my camera up and aimed it had turned away and run to the top of the ridge where it sat for a few minutes seemingly taking in the view of the valley below.  Nikon D90 with 80 – 400mm,  f/4.5-5.6,  1/2000 sec at f/7.1,  400mm,  ISO 200

 

Deep into the Lamar Valley, we came upon a group of Bighorn Sheep rams. I am relatively certain these are the same fellows I have photographed in the late spring and late summer. There were seven rams grazing along the hillside. Again my technique was off some thereby reducing the quality of the resultant images. Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/4.5 – 5.6, 1/2000 sec at f/7.1,   210 mm,  ISO 400

 

Nikon D90, with 400 – 800 mm,  f/ 4.5 – 5.6,  1/1600 sec at f/5.6,  200 mm,  ISO 200

 

Nikon D90 with 80 -400 mm,  f/4.5 – 5.6,  1/640 sec at f/14,  80 mm,  ISO 200

 

This image was given a pretty healthy crop, I had led the animal too far to the left and missed his rear. By cropping to just include the head and shoulders I was able to lose a lot of white where there was no detail. Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm f/4.5 – 5.6,  1/250 sec at f/14,  230 mm, ISO 200

 

As our day continued, we saw many small groups of bison. Some were just standing around while others were moving snow to get to grass. This group was just walking along the valley floor. The snow was nearly belly-deep for these large animals. Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm f/4.5 – 5.6,  1/100 sec at f/18,  116 mm,   ISO 200

 

The winter landscapes were just amazing. It was unfortunate to not have any blue sky to contrast the snowy features of the foreground. You just don’t always get the conditions you are looking for. Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm  f/ 3.5 – 4.5, 1/200 sec at f/18,  62 mm, ISO 200

 

The Lamar River as it exits Lamar Valley.
Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm  f/ 3.5 – 4.5, 1/60 sec at f/18,   62 mm, ISO 200

 

In my last post, I included a tease for this post and inserted another photo of this formation taken on February 22. What a difference a day makes! Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5, 1/200 sec at f/18,  38 mm, ISO 200

 

Soda Butte Creek northeast of Pebble Creek Campground. Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/125 sec at f/18,        52 mm, ISO 200

 

Somewhere in the northeast part of Lamar Valley. The skies finally started to break up just as we had to make the turn towards Mammoth.  Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/250 sec at f/18, 55 mm, ISO 200

 

As we made our way back towards Mammoth, we started to get some sun. There was a bit of wind to contend with as well. These next three images are my rather feeble attempt to show the depth of the snow along the roadway and depict the blowing snow.
Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/320 sec at f/18,  85 mm, ISO 250

 

Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/160 sec at f/18,  85 mm, ISO 200

 

Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/250 sec at f/18,  85 mm, ISO 200

Day two, Feb 22, 2018 – Lamar Valley

The skies were a little more friendly on our second day in Lamar Valley.  The broken clouds and partially blue skies provided more color in the photos that follow.

Entering Lamar Valley from the west.  The sun added depth to the images with all the shadowing.  The blue sky provided needed contrast from the whiteness of the snow.
Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/3.5 – 4.5,  1/800 sec at f/7.1,  45 mm, ISO 200

 

Looking to the North while passing through Lamar Valley. The normally grass-covered slopes are now smooth with fresh snow. A hazy blue sky offers some contrast.
Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/1600 sec at f/7.1,  85 mm, ISO 200

 

The Buffalo Ranch far left center.
Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/200 sec at f/20,  78 mm, ISO 200

 

Soda Butte
Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/200 sec at f/20,  29 mm, ISO 200

 

Soda Butte Creek with some sunlight.
Nikon D610, with 24 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5,  1/160 sec at f/18,  24 mm, ISO 200

 

Bison foraging through the snow for grass. Notice the large area where the snow has been moved away. The large neck muscles of the Bison provide the strength needed to move the snow. The Bison swings its massive head back and forth digging through the snow to reach the grass below.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400 mm,  f/ 4.5 – 5.6, 1/200 sec at f/14,  85 mm, ISO 200

 

This is not the same Bison as in the previous photo. However, this perspective illustrates how much work an adult Bison must do to get a meager amount of food.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/250 sec at f/18,  80 mm, ISO 200

 

We stopped at a pullout with a good view of Soda Butte Creek. There was a trail in the snow leading into some dense tree cover. I ventured along the trail to capture the next three images.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/1600 sec at f/4.5,  80 mm, ISO 200

 

Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/125 sec at f/18,  80 mm, ISO 200

 

Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/200 sec at f/18,  80 mm, ISO 200

It is important to note that when I returned from my little side trip I found Connie more or less covered with snow and not smiling.  She had fallen into a drift which had formed behind a mound of plowed snow.  While at the bottom of what must have seemed an endless hole, she yelled for me to rescue her.  Of course, the snow muffled her yells to the point I never heard a peep.  By my return she had rescued herself, but that did not make her happy.  I think I am still paying for that departure from teamwork.

Day 3, Feb 23, 2018 – Our Over Snow Trip to the Interior

When I first tried to make reservations for a trip to the interior there were no seats available anytime within a week or two of our target visit dates.  I put us on a waiting list and was surprised a few days later to get the notification that there were four seats available for February 23.  What luck.

I came home with nearly 350 images from that one day.  I have no idea how many I deleted while still in the camera.  My gut feel is I probably fired nearly 500 times that day.  Here are a few of my favorites.

This is the vehicle we traveled in. That is Connie standing near the front left wheel. These vehicles have two seats on the driver’s side and one on the passenger side for a total of 11 seats behind the driver plus the co-pilot seat for a total of 13. The single seat that would be across from the first row of two is the doorway.  The tires are low-pressure and obviously large footprint to provide traction and a relatively smooth ride.  The driver can adjust the air pressure depending on the road conditions.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/400 sec at f/14,  80 mm, ISO 400

 

Electric Peak from Swan Lake Flat.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1000 sec at f/9,  85 mm, ISO 400

 

During the winter the road is shared between the over-snow vehicles and snowmobiles. There are very specific rules governing winter use. The rules are designed to enhance the visitor experience as well as protecting the animals and the environment.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/500 sec at f/14,  85 mm, ISO 400

 

Bunsen Peak from Swan Lake Flat. It was a cold and crisp morning, but the vehicle was comfortable. The driver did not keep it too warm in order to prevent fogging of our lenses as we moved in and out of the vehicle.  Note the tracks.  They are not human.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1000 sec at f/14,  24 mm, ISO 400

 

We made a quick stop at Roaring Mountain on our way to Canyon Village. In the cold winter the mountain seems much more active than during the warm summer days.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/400 sec at f/14,  26 mm, ISO 400

 

The second sort of major stop was in the parking lot of Norris Geyser Basin. We were not there to visit the geysers, we were there only to use this restroom and stretch our legs.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/200 sec at f/14,  24 mm, ISO 400

 

Soon after leaving the Norris Geyser Basin we had the Gibbon River on the left side of the bus. I got this photo through the window. Throughout the day I was snapping photos through the window with mixed results. I have a bunch of photos with reflections of the inside of the bus. This one came out pretty well.  That white spot in the upper-right corner is a reflection.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/250 sec at f/14,  24 mm, ISO 400

The original plan was to stop at Canyon Village and eat our box lunches in the comfort of the Visitor Center.  However, our driver, who was no rookie, had been watching the skies all morning and he knew we needed to get to Artist’s Point as early in the afternoon as possible because the light was great.  Since no one can predict what will come along cloud wise, it is always wise to make haste to get to the photo spots while the light is right.  We were encouraged to eat as we traveled.  That was a bit of a struggle as the bus was crowded and Connie and I were juggling cameras, packs, and our lunches.  There was no overhead storage and the limited floor space was wet from our many trips in and out of the bus.

For this daytrip, I opted to not take my 150-600 mm lens due to its size and the fact the I didn’t feel I had room for a tripod in the bus.  Instead, I used my 80 – 400 mm lens on my DX format camera thereby mimicking a longer telephoto lens.  This was probably one of the smarter decision I made all week.  However, I did discover during post-production that the sensor on my D90 had some dust which left small marks in the sky of several images.

As we crossed over the Yellowstone River via the Chittenden Bridge our driver noticed a great example of anchor ice in the river.  It is difficult to see the anchor ice in this image, but it is near the center right of the photo.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/320 sec at f/22,  24 mm, ISO 500

 

A tighter shot of the anchor ice. Anchor ice is formed when the river’s current is too swift to allow the surface to freeze. However, the conditions at the bottom of the river are cold enough for ice to form on the rocks where the current is a little less. The anchor ice grows up from the bottom and with the proper conditions can extend above the river’s surface.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/200 sec at f/29,  85 mm, ISO 500

The next several images come from various stops along the Yellowstone River below the Lower Falls.

As we walked down to Artist’s Point from the parking area, I stopped to get this shot just in case we had cloud cover by the time we got to the point.  The falls are sort of dead center in the image.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1250 sec at f/13,  36 mm, ISO 500

 

The Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River from Artist’s Point.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/400 sec at f/13,  400 mm, ISO 200

 

 

A wider shot of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River. That mound in the middle of the river is an ice mound which forms during the coldest part of the winter from the freezing mist that comes from the falling water.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/500 sec at f/13,  150 mm, ISO 200

 

A yet wider shot of the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/400 sec at f/14,  80 mm, ISO 200

 

We nest stopped at Grand View. Along the path to the overlook there is a great view of an Osprey nest from above. I have spent hours at this nest in the summer watching the adults tend to their chicks. This is a much different view of their summer home.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/400 sec at f/14,  200 mm, ISO 200

 

In this image it is a little easier to see the nesting materials under the snow cap.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/400 sec at f/14,  200 mm, ISO 400

We had spent a good bit of time along the North and South Rim Drives of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.  However, since we had made the decision to eat on the road, we were still ahead of schedule.  With that in mind, our driver decided to take us down into Hayden Valley.  For the previous several days, the road into and through Hayden Valley had been closed due to blizzard conditions and blowing snow.  We would be among the first vehicles to return to the valley and the pristine snow conditions.

As we continued south toward Hayden Valley, we came across Trumpeter Swans feeding on the river bottom. I made some of the worst photographs of the trip during this stop. I think my brain was starting to freeze as I could not make sense of what was needed to get the images correct in the camera. This is a severely altered image.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5- 5.6 ,  1/200 sec at f/14,  400 mm, ISO 200

 

This was another out the window shot,  See the reflection. I could not resist, the Yellowstone River looked so serene flowing between its snowy banks.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/500 sec at f/13,  24 mm, ISO 500

 

We were in Hayden Valley for less than a half hour. However, our driver let those of us who wanted to brave the brisk temperature to get out of the bus while he went further south to turn around. The next several photos were taken during that period. It was absolutely peaceful as there were only 3 or 4 of us and no noise.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1250 sec at f/13,  85 mm, ISO 500

 

Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1250 sec at f/13,  85 mm, ISO 500

 

Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1250 sec at f/13,  85 mm, ISO 500

 

Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1250 sec at f/13,  24 mm, ISO 500

 

Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1250 sec at f/13,  80 mm, ISO 500

We were still ahead of schedule and the weather was holding wonderfully.  Our driver decided we had time to move north of Canyon Village to the point on the road just below Dunraven Pass where the over-snow road ends.  Off we went.

End of the road image.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/400 sec at f/18,  24 mm, ISO 500

 

Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/640 sec at f/4.5,  70 mm, ISO 200

 

Mount Washburn in the background. The gap between the trees is the road. Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/2500 sec at f/4.5,  85 mm, ISO 200

 

Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/1000 sec at f/4.5,  36 mm, ISO 200

 

As we sped along Obsidian Creek I could not resist the temptation to take a few more photos through the window.  The motion of the bus made for a little blurring in the foreground, but I still like the image.
Nikon D610, with 25 – 85mm,  f/ 3.5 – 4.5 ,  1/200 sec at f/6.3,  85 mm, ISO 200

Day 4, Feb 24, 2018 – Our Last Drive to Lamar Valley

On our last day to be in the park we were to have a bit of a shortened day because we had a dinner date and would have to clean up prior.  The day started out a little clearer than the other days in Lamar Valley, but rather quickly became overcast again.  I chose not to take as many photos as I had been, but rather to just enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the wildlife we encountered.

We came across the gang of seven on the same slope as on our first day, but they were down lower. So, knowing what I had done wrong the first time, I tried again to get better-looking images.
Nikon D610, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5 – 5.6,  1/320 sec at f/13,  460 mm, ISO 200

 

This fellow got right down to the road level. I was using a tripod this day, so I was able to slow down the shutter speed in order to show the motion in his front legs as he searched for grass.
Nikon D610, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5 – 5.6,  1/250 sec at f/13,  600 mm, ISO 200

 

We stopped at the Hell Roaring Overlook to see what we could see looking down towards the river. While we were there we noticed this bull Bison ambling down the road towards our position. I got in position and started taking photos. I had my head firmly glued to my camera and was not paying attention to how close the animal was getting. I did notice that I had to continuously back off on the telephoto in order to keep his head in the frame. Finally, Connie yelled for me to back off as the Bison was way too close.
Nikon D610, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5 – 5.6,  1/100 sec at f/18,  80 mm, ISO 200

 

As we approached Mammoth from the east we could see Canary Spring shimmering in the sunlight. Instead of heading out of the park we drove to the parking lot across from the spring where I was able to get this shot. This was a real challenge due to the water vapor coming off the spring nearly obliterating the little bit of blue of the sky.
Nikon D90, with 80 – 400mm,  f/ 4.5 – 5.6,  1/250 sec at f/5.6,  400 mm, ISO 200

The Finale

This was a trip well worth the time and effort that went into it.  Before we were even out of Gardiner heading home, we were talking about our next winter trip to Yellowstone National Park which will include an over-snow trip to Old Faithful.  For now, please enjoy these images.

My next post will likely include some local bird images and who knows what else.  As I am fond of saying, stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frank Madia

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7 Comments

  •    Reply

    I’m speechless. The photos from Yellowstone are terrific and I can understand why you both want to return for another winter visit. Just please don’t leave Connie alone to fall into a snowdrift again. LOL Loved the colors and shadows that show in the snow when the sun is shining. The close-up bison reminded me of our experience in Montana. Thanks for sharing your experience so vividly.

  •    Reply

    Just beautiful! Looks like you and Connie had a great time. Your photographs are breathtaking!

  •    Reply

    As always, Frank, your pictures are awesome! And this is just the way I enjoy snow — vicariously. This elderly southerner just can’t manage the cold. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Love to you and to Connie, Doris

  •    Reply

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word! Your writing skills have caught up with your photography expertise.
    The descriptions that go with each picture give a wonderful insight into the photograph itself. Especially the bison photo!
    You captured the zigzag markings of tires in the road, beautifully.
    Thanks for braving the cold to share images of snow patterns only a few people get to experience in person.
    Your explanation of the animal footprint trail was appreciated.
    Thank you for taking the time to write this informative piece for all to enjoy.

  •    Reply

    Frank even being sick enjoyed your story and images just beautiful. He stopped for you by Indian Creek. No time to take the road picture.

  •    Reply

    These images are priceless! It was a trip to heaven for me–

  •    Reply

    Youza Frank! Fabulous images, especially the bison and the Big Horn sheep.

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